BAUCHI, Nigeria – Disturbed by the poor quality of food served to the children by the accredited vendors and the suspected stealing of public funds by the immediate leadership of the Home-Grown School Feeding System of the Federal Government under the leadership of Mansur Manu Soro, an anti-corruption group, The Other Alternative, has called on the Independent and Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC), to commence discreet investigation into the system that was inherited by Hon. Madaki Gololo.
In a press release made available to journalists in Bauchi, spokesman of the group, Sanusi Muhammad, stated that after an in-depth investigation by the group, it was discovered that several schools were captured to enjoy the programme but that was not the case as monies meant for those fictitious vendors were siphoned as those schools captured were mere gimmicks for the fraud.
“We discovered after a discreet investigation that names of several schools appeared on the list of beneficiaries of the programme but to our dismay, some of those schools are not in existence and where they exist, they have never benefitted from the programme for once.
“Fictitious names of vendors were documented and forwarded to the national headquarters for steady payments while the actual beneficiaries of the payments were the scammers within the system.
“In some cases, beef, fish and eggs and other nourishments were not provided to the pupils but all payments included the provision of those items and the money shared.
“There was no supervision of the progress of the programme as doing so was a waste of time since those to supervise and effect corrections were the fraudsters themselves while Mansur Manu Soro, who presided over the affairs of the programme clearly lacked the capacity and experience to handle such a laudable programme but he was offered the appointment probably as a political patronage or wrong rating by the powers that be
“Most of the vendors handling the programme were unqualified for such an assignment that involves cleanness, sincerity and concern to the health of the targeted beneficiaries. They were selected for the assignment without screening for either a political reason or relationship as most of Manu’s relatives in Soro and surrounding villages were engaged in the programme without qualifying as alleged.”
Muhammad added that for the programme to succeed and achieve its main objective, there is urgent need for the ICPC to carry out a discreet investigation into the criteria used for the selection of the vendors in each locality, number of benefitting schools in each locality, total number of vendors in each locality, mode of their payment, supply of foodstuff including beef, fish and other edibles, record of delivery and distribution to the pupils etc to sanitize the system and prosecute those suspected fraudsters that allegedly defrauded those innocent pupils from benefitting the programme as rolled out by the federal government and possible connivance with those at the national secretariat of the programme for a scam.
“At this stage of the programme, there is need for the federal government to review its performance and inject new strategies to block leakages and possibility of corrupt practices that may defeat the purpose,” Muhammad said.